Tropical Storm Kay, currently churning approximately 550 miles southeast of Cabo San Lucas and 350 miles southwest of Puerto Vallarta, is predicted to strengthen in the next few hours, with likely impacts on Baja California in the coming days.
This will impact cruise ship visits to the popular port of Cabo San Lucas as the storm approaches the region on Thursday and Friday.
Tropical Storm Strengthening
Tropical Storm Kay, while still short of hurricane strength at this time, is forecast to become a hurricane as early as Tuesday, September 6, or even late Monday night.
As the storm continues to move northwest close to the Mexican coast, it will likely continue to strengthen, possibly reaching Category 2 status with sustained winds from 96-110 miles per hour.
Because of the potential impact on coastal communities, the government of Mexico has issued a tropical storm watch for the southern portion of the Baja California peninsula, including the resort community and popular cruise port of Cabo San Lucas.
This indicates that tropical storm force winds are possible in the region within 48 hours. As the storm progresses, the watches may be upgraded to warnings, and port operations can be impacted.
At the moment, Cabo San Lucas continues to operate as planned, though no passenger ships are in port today or throughout the early part of the week.
Potential Cruise Impacts
Later this week, however, the storm will not only be stronger, but will draw closer to the peninsula. The storm’s path will also put Cabo San Lucas on the storm’s eastern side, where more intense winds and a broader wind field are present.
Two cruise ships may be directly impacted by Tropical Storm (or Hurricane) Kay: Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Panorama is scheduled to be in port at Cabo San Lucas on Thursday, September 8, from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m., just as the storm will be drawing closer to the peninsula.
Royal Caribbean International’s Navigator of the Seas may also be impacted, as the Voyager-class ship is scheduled to visit Cabo San Lucas on Friday, September 9, from 12-8 p.m., just as the weather may be at its worst.
Carnival Panorama is sailing a 7-night roundtrip Mexican Riviera voyage from Long Beach, with visits to Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan, and Cabo San Lucas. The Vista-class ship departed California on Saturday, September 3.
Navigator of the Seas will depart on a 5-night roundtrip Cabo Ensenada cruise itinerary on Wednesday, September 7, with a day at sea planned prior to arriving in Cabo San Lucas on Friday.
It is possible that either ship may adjust their itineraries to avoid the worst weather of the storm. While no changes have yet been confirmed, these are often last-minute decisions that take into account all the updated information on a storm’s strength, wind field size, relative motion, and overall speed.
All cruise lines continually monitor weather conditions in the regions they sail, and the safety of each vessel and all the souls aboard – guests and crew – are the most important consideration for adjusting itineraries to avoid poor weather.
Read Also: How a Hurricane Could Affect Your Cruise
If necessary, port times may be adjusted, port of call visits may be completely dropped, or itinerary routes adjusted to compensate for weather conditions.
If the storm does significant damage to port facilities, it may be possible that additional ships or future cruises could also be impacted long after a hurricane passes.
More Storm Impacts
Even while keeping an eye on Tropical Storm Kay in the eastern Pacific Ocean, cruise line weather forecasters are also watching Tropical Storm Earl in the southern Caribbean.
While no cruise destinations are currently impacted by Tropical Storm Earl, the storm is forecast to become a hurricane late in the week, and may impact Bermuda.
Stay tuned to Cruise Hive for updates on how these storms are impacting cruise travel, and for other storm information throughout hurricane season.